How Schools Enact Their Jewish Missions
20 Case Studies of Jewish Day Schools
A Project of The AVI CHAI Foundation


Michael S. Berger is Associate Professor of Jewish Law and Ethics in Emory University's Department of Religion. He published Rabbinic Authority (1998), edited Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik's Emergence of Ethical Man (2006) and has authored articles in medieval and modern Jewish thought. Before arriving at Emory, Berger taught at the Joseph H. Lookstein Ramaz Upper School, and since 2000, he has also worked as a program officer for the AVI CHAI Foundation. He has served on the boards or committees of two local Atlanta day schools, has offered professional development for local teachers, and in 2004-6, Berger took a leave of absence from his academic post to lead Yeshiva Atlanta, a Modern Orthodox co-ed high school.

Five-Core-Values-in-Delicate-BalanceAlign-the-Board-Preserve-the-School’s-NeshamahMeshuga-La-Davar-HebrewThe Grand Conversation


Josh Elkin is an executive and leadership coach, dedicated to supporting and strengthening professional and volunteer leaders. Ordained as a rabbi at the Jewish Theological Seminary and with an Ed.D. from Columbia University’s Teacher College, Josh brings to his coaching well over 30 years of executive leadership experience, both as the Head of School for 20 years at the Solomon Schechter Day School of Greater Boston, and as the founding Executive Director at the Partnership for Excellence in Jewish Education (PEJE) – a position he held for 14 years. His writing and speaking have focused on the professional-board partnership, the improvement of board performance and the centrality of vision for organizational excellence.



Cheryl R. Finkel is a leadership consultant who supports North American Jewish day school leaders in their pursuit of excellence. As Head of the Epstein School in Atlanta from 1983-2002, she helped the school grow from 80 to 695 students in preschool through 8th grade. From 2002-2010 she was Senior Consultant at PEJE. Cheryl has mentored fellows in the Day School Leadership Training Institute (DSLTI) since 1998, helping launch the careers of 120 new and aspiring Jewish day school heads.



Rabbi Reuven Greenvald is currently Director of Strategic Outreach–North America for the Jewish Agency for Israel. He has over 25 years of experience in Jewish day school education, most significantly as Head of School at Kehillah Jewish High School (Palo Alto), and Upper School Principal at the Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School (Rockville, MD). He continues to consult with and study Jewish day schools, particularly around thinking more strategically about Israel education, leadership and professional development and defining their Jewish studies vision.

The Grand Conversation


Pearl Mattenson is Senior Project Leader at Rosov Consulting. She has over 30 years experience in Jewish education and non-profits. Within the Jewish day school world she has been a teacher, family educator, day school principal and PEJE consultant. She helped to create teacher training programs at both Drisha and the Soloveitchik Institute and served for a time as Co-Director of the Induction Partnership at Brandeis’ Mandel Center for Studies in Jewish Education supporting the development of novice teachers. Together with Alex Pomson, she is a co-author of Engineering Enduring Change: A Study of the Bay Area Schools Israel Synergy Initiative. She is a contributor to Kaddish: Women’s Voices published by Urim Publications and is more recently known for her writing on leadership and communication.

Meshuga-La-Davar-HebrewWhom Do Jewish Day Schools Serve


Alex Pomson: Based in Jerusalem, Alex Pomson is Director of Research and Evaluation at Rosov Consulting. He trained in history at the University of Cambridge and received his Ph.D. in religious education from the University of London. He was founding Head of Jewish Studies at the King Solomon High School. He served as Associate Professor of Jewish Teacher Education at York University, Toronto where he coordinated York's Jewish Teacher Education Programme. He was also a Senior Researcher at the Melton Centre for Jewish Education at the Hebrew University. He has published numerous books and articles about those who teach, live and learn in Jewish day schools.

School-Resilience-Under-PressureWhom Do Jewish Day Schools Serve


Jack Wertheimer is a Professor of American Jewish History at the Jewish Theological Seminary, where he served also as Provost for a decade. He writes on the religious, communal and educational spheres of American Jewish life, particularly in recent decades. As Director of the Center for Research and Policy at The AVI CHAI Foundation, he has overseen projects examining Jewish supplementary schools, young Jewish leaders and the nexus of the family, community and Jewish education. Among the books he has written or edited are A People Divided: Judaism in Contemporary America, Learning and Community: Jewish Supplementary Schools in the 21st Century, The New Jewish Leaders: Reshaping the American Jewish Landscape, and Imagining the American Jewish Community.


Tali Zelkowicz is a sociologist of Jewish education and received her Ph.D. in the sociology of Jewish education at NYU (2007), and a Master’s in Jewish education (2000) and rabbinical ordination (2002) from HUC-JIR, Los Angeles. Her research focuses on ethnographic investigations of Jewish day schools, specifically exploring the role of conflict in identity formation as contemporary Jews strive to straddle multiple cultures simultaneously. From 2004-2010, she coordinated the integration of Jewish and general curricular content for DeLeT (Day School Leadership through Teaching) in Los Angeles, and served as Director of Jewish Programming. Since 2007, she has been teaching graduate courses in sociology of Jewish education, professional learning and curriculum design at the Rhea Hirsch School of Jewish Education at HUC-JIR, Los Angeles campus and is currently working on a book called, “Teaching on Eggshells: Dissonance and Ethnic Identity Formation.”